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XP laptop won't boot


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#1 keyboardNinja

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 05:18 PM

I was hoping it would never come to this, but, alas, it has.

My sister has been ringing my phone off the hook today. Her laptop will not boot. The worst part is: she lives 3 hours from me and expects me to be able to work my magic over the phone, which is nigh impossible. I have no way of getting to the laptop anytime soon, and she has no XP disk. She desperately needs the laptop for school.

Dell Latitude D610 (bought refurbished off eBay a year ago..against my advice...)
XP Pro (not sure of service pack...probably 3)
80GB hard drive (barely used any of it)
Intel Pentium M processor (don't recall exact speed)
blah, blah...
decent computer, but it gets overheated easily.

Anyway, I don't recall every boot error she has gotten (she never writes any of it down :cool: ), but the main one is something along these lines:

No bootable device found

with 2 BIOS beeps.

There is no CD in the drive, and no USB device plugged up. I had her check the BIOS, and the hard drive showed up as first in the list.

She first had problems Saturday, but I was out with a friend and couldn't help at the time. Sunday, I hear second-hand from Mom that Sis somehow got it working. How, I don't know. She said something about setting an "Administrative system password". She now has to enter a password before the thing will even boot. I never set a system password on my computers. Obviously, I have a BIOS password and an account password, but I see no reason to have a system password that you have to enter before it even starts to boot. I don't know...

Anyway, she claims she had to do that to fix it. What gave her that idea, I have no idea. She's about as computer literate as your Grandpa George. You say: "Hit F2 to go into the BIOS." and she says: "Huh?" :)

She did finally get to the F8 recovery options today, and was able to boot into safe mode with networking. She also had a BSOD sometime since the problems started, so I got her to run Bluescreenview once she finally got into Safe Mode hoping for a clue...

==================================================
Dump File : Mini032910-01.dmp
Crash Time : 3/29/2010 1:15:15 PM
Bug Check String : ATTEMPTED_WRITE_TO_READONLY_MEMORY
Bug Check Code : 0x100000be
Parameter 1 : 0xaaca77e2
Parameter 2 : 0x27b23121
Parameter 3 : 0xf79da9d8
Parameter 4 : 0x0000000b
Caused By Driver : fltMgr.sys
Caused By Address : fltMgr.sys+2b52
File Description : Microsoft Filesystem Filter Manager
Product Name : Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
Company : Microsoft Corporation
File Version : 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)
Processor : 32-bit
Computer Name :
Full Path : C:\WINDOWS\minidump\Mini032910-01.dmp
Processors Count : 1
Major Version : 15
Minor Version : 2600
==================================================

Not what I was hoping for... :trumpet:

Sometimes it will boot into Safe Mode, and sometimes she gets a BSOD. She said she smacked the side of it, then it worked for a time. With the "No bootable device" error, my first inclination was failing hard drive. That might explain the inconsistency. But after the Bluescreenview log and the BIOS beeps, it could also be the RAM. I don't have a clue what brand of BIOS or hard drive is in this thing. I tried searching the internet, to no avail.

She has no CD's to burn a Memtest disc (no computer to burn one with either), and wouldn't know how anyway (even with explicit instructions, she gives the ol' "I don't know how" excuse, without even trying). Like I said, she has no XP disc, either. I have one in my possession, and could possibly mail her a copy...but I'm not sure what I would have her do with it if I sent one. Probably a chkdsk first. But it's like pulling teeth to even get her to do the simplest of tasks. I could run the gamut of things to try in less than an hour if I had my hands on it, but it would take days to walk her through that over the phone...and neither of us have that much patience. She screamed into the phone more than once today...her patience with computers is extremely small. "Why won't it work??!!!!" :flowers: is a typical phrase she'll use. She's afraid she'll have to buy a new computer, and lose all her data (she's never made a backup, of course :inlove: ) along with a few hundred dollars for the new computer.

I'm fairly certain it's hardware related, but I hesitated putting this topic in the Internal Hardware sub-forum. If needed, I'll post a link myself in the "tidiness thread" in order to have it moved, but for now, I'll take my chances with the XP sub-forum.

I can't get her to test the hard drive or RAM. It won't boot normally at all. Safe mode works sometimes. Where do I begin? :P

Thanks, in advance, to all brave enough to take on this monumental task. :thumbsup:
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#2 Eyesee

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 05:36 PM

I think I would try reseating the hard drive first.
Especially considering that you said she whacked it and it worked.
But given what you are saying that might be impossible!

If you cant get your hands on it see if she can take it to a local shop.
That will cost her a few bucks but it might be a good lesson for her.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#3 keyboardNinja

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:11 PM

Oh geez...talk about a bad case of the Mondays...I just realized my cell phone is missing. It always stays in a camo holster clipped to my left, front pocket. ALWAYS. The entire holster is gone. I remember accidentally bumping into somebody as I left my last class today...I already emailed my instructor in the hopes that he picked it up.

Anyway...back to the computer. Yeah, I thought about reseating the hdd, but like you said, that is pretty much impossible. She doesn't even own a screwdriver. And I wouldn't trust her to take it apart. I've never seen the inside of her's, and certainly wouldn't be able to walk her through it over the phone...even if I was brave enough to let her open it up.

I doubt she's willing to take it to a shop (I've never trusted PC shops, myself). And now I can't even talk to her over the phone....of course, then again, judging by her impatience, maybe that's a good thing... :thumbsup:

I'm in quite the pickle... :flowers:
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#4 Broni

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:07 PM

I tell you, without going there, you'll struggle to solve it.
Could be so many things.
I feel your pain.
You could burn Ultimate Boot CD for her. It has all test programs on it, then again, snail mail, make sure, she's doing things right....I don't know.
Could be some infection as well.

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#5 keyboardNinja

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:31 PM

Thanks for the sympathy, Broni.

I'm not really sure what to do at this point....
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#6 Broni

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 11:21 PM

I assume, it's her only computer?
If so, how about some friend, who could burn some CD for her.
If it's possible, your best bet would be to burn OTLPE CD for her, so you could provide a log for malware guys here.
That would quickly eliminate, or confirm infection issue.

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#7 keyboardNinja

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 11:29 PM

No, she doesn't have a secondary computer.

Her roommate has a laptop, but apparently she's hardly ever there.

Could you provide a link to this "OTLPE CD" you speak of? I've never heard of it...
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#8 Broni

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 11:50 PM

I'm not sure, if it'd be appropriate to post it here, so I'll PM you. I hope, I won't get spanked for it :thumbsup:

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#9 keyboardNinja

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:32 AM

I'm still thinking it's not malware related at this point. I'm going to check the hardware first, then take action from there. The malware path is a long road to hoe, as they say....and I'd hate to send my sister down it, only to come up empty and have the malware responder send me back to the hardware diagnostics. Running hardware tests is faster and easier to diagnose than a complicated malware log that would have to have trained eyes look at it. If the hardware tests come up empty, then I'll go for malware.

I think I'm just going to mail her some CD's:

Memtest86 (quick and simple)
Ultimate Boot CD (to use hard drive tests if Memtest86 passes)
XP install disk (to run things like chkdsk and such)

and I'll try to get her to run some virus scans if she can boot (safe mode or normal, if possible).

Thanks anyway, Broni. :thumbsup:
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#10 Broni

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:39 AM

Sure thing :thumbsup:

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#11 hamluis

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 03:26 AM

I think I would just have her send me the system, via UPS...that's the approach I take with my family members who are 800 miles away and who are not into self-help.

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#12 keyboardNinja

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:25 AM

I've considered that, Louis, but she'll be furious with me if she wastes her money to ship it to me (she will use the word "waste" when I give her this option, I guarantee it), then just has to buy a new laptop anyway (if I can't fix it). I'm pretty confident I would be able to figure out what's wrong with it, if I could get my hands on it....but no guarantees I can fix it. I guess it'll depend on how bad she needs it, as to what she'll be willing to do...

Once I get my phone back, I'll call her and give her the list of options (including shipping it to me).

We'll see what she says. Thanks for all your help, guys. :flowers:

If I get my hands on it, I'll definitely be back with a report...and if not, I'll be pulling out my hair trying to fix it through the phone. :thumbsup:
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#13 hamluis

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 09:46 AM

You can always "fix" it, as long as you know how to do a clean install :thumbsup:.

Anything beyond that on a laptop probably results in some type of considerable cash outlay that users need to determine whether...it warrants the effort.

There's no magic fix for a sick computer that is not in the hands of someone who has a clue on how to attempt repairs/diagnosis on it. If she can't accept "try" as part of the real world...well, my sister knows better :flowers:.

In the meantime...sunlight is burning.

Louis

#14 cryptodan

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:17 AM

Im leaning more towards a RAM issue.

#15 keyboardNinja

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:56 PM

You can always "fix" it, as long as you know how to do a clean install :trumpet:.

Anything beyond that on a laptop probably results in some type of considerable cash outlay that users need to determine whether...it warrants the effort.

There's no magic fix for a sick computer that is not in the hands of someone who has a clue on how to attempt repairs/diagnosis on it. If she can't accept "try" as part of the real world...well, my sister knows better :inlove:.

In the meantime...sunlight is burning.

Louis

Well, if it's hardware, a clean install will do no good...I'm not scared of clean installs. I just don't think that will solve the problem, at this point.

Yeah, I warned her about buying a used laptop...more than half its life is already over when you buy it.

Yeah, I know. As quick as I can get my phone back, I'll negotiate with her and see what she is willing to do/try.

Im leaning more towards a RAM issue.

That would be the first test I would run, mainly because it's the easiest. It's just got a single 1GB stick, and I don't have another to stick in it.

If that came up empty, I was planning on heading for a chkdsk.

It all depends on what she says once I finally get a chance to call her. :thumbsup:


Now ya'll can probably see why I didn't post this in the Hardware sub-forum. I needed more circumstantial advice than troubleshooting instructions... :flowers:
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